While I work with any student headed to any college, the majority of my clients homeschool high school and thus have a unique profile that needs to be handled carefully. Far too often I get a call in the late fall of the senior year from a non-client family who has just decided that their student wants to apply to a competitive school. I do what I can and am willing to serve them in any way possible, but often my job at that late date is damage control.
My mission as a college consultant is to help you avoid mistakes (often very costly mistakes) and help you keep all doors open for your child. Think of it this way. You and your child are standing at the end of a long hallway with doors lining the sides. All of them are open a tiny crack, just enough to see the light around the edges. You or your child think there is a certain door you are headed toward and make plans accordingly. But what if that door shuts? What if your child decides he wants another door? Without proper planning you are left staring at a locked door with no good options.
When I work with a student, I try to keep all reasonable doors open so the young person has a choice of what to walk through. But to keep those options open, we need to start as early as possible, preferably before high school. Here are the reasons to begin planning homeschool high school early:
The classes your student takes are important.
They don’t have to take the same classes every other student takes, but top colleges do have minimum requirements. Students have great latitude in how they do this, but it is important to know what you are doing. It is also important to understand what classes belong in high school and which ones in junior high. Families frequently confuse the two.
Standardized Tests have a critical place in the college admissions process.
Tests aren’t the only key, but they are extremely important. Many students completely miss certain types of tests, others don’t know how to study for the ones they take, they don’t time the test well, or know how to strategize which tests showcase a their ability.
Extracurricular activities can lift a student to the top of the pile in a college admissions office
Choosing your student’s activities carefully can make a world of difference in college and scholarship applications. Interestingly enough, fewer activities of depth are more valuable than the smorgasbord of activities many students amass hoping to impress an admissions officer. Early planning can help you decide what to focus on and what to eliminate.
Early planning allows a more relaxed homeschool high school experience.
Parents who work with a college consultant know how to keep track of classes and activities, how to document everything properly, and when to begin compiling needed paperwork. I have found that moms breathe a sigh of relief to have an objective third party come alongside them on the journey. This frees them up to do what they do best, to enjoy their children, and to choose the life they want rather than following the crowd.